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Thursday, 4 May 1939

Mr MULCAHY (Lang) . - I desire to bring under the notice of the Postmaster-General (Mr. Harrison) the position of boys between the ages of fourteen and sixteen years, who are employed in the Postal Department. It i3 the practice to dismiss these lads when they attain the age of sixteen years, after they have given two of the mostimportant years of their lives in the service of the department. Such dead-end jobs should not be allowed to exist in government institutions, and I hope that the present practice will cease.

I agree with the submissions by the honorable member for Balaclava (Mr. White) on behalf of war pensioners. I have been making similar representations in this chamber for three or four years, and I am pleased to know that when I have spoken on behalf of returned soldiers, there has been at least one member of the Cabinet in sympathy with me. The suggestion that a select committee should be appointed to inquire into repatriation matters generally is an admirable one. It should receive the support of every honorable member.

I have no complaint to make with regard to the very excellent work which members of the commission have carried out in the last twenty years. Their positions have been very responsible, and I think they have done well indeed. I have under review two or three cases which I have asked the Repatriation Commission to re-open. They concern dependants of returned soldiers who have died of tuberculosis. It is very difficult to prove that the disabilities suffered by returned soldiers are clue to their war service. Very often the appeal board will -accept only medical evidence, and, even if it does accept other testimony, it refuses to give much credence to it. In one case which I now have before the commission, nearly 50 letters have been supplied by men able to say that a deceased soldier, during his period of war service, constantly suffered from severe colds; but, up to the present time, it ha3 been impossible to prove that his death resulted from his service at the front. I hope that the House will soon have an opportunity to review the administration with regard to these cases and repatriation matters generally.

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